The green lights have been plentiful for drama series this pilot season, though perhaps no one did better than the DC Comics TV team, with four pickups in four pilots. But Israeli powerhouse Keshet and others did well, too. Below is a quick slide show overview of the season’s new dramas to come. We’ll add more images and information as they become available. Click on a photo to launch:
Global Showbiz Briefs: Portugal’s ‘Rising Star’ Bows To 3.7M; CTV Picks Up U.S. Version Of The Singing Competition; More
3.7 Million Portuguese Welcome Their Version Of ‘Rising Star’
With about a month and a half to go before ABC debuts its version of interactive singing competition format Rising Star, the international rollout continues. The Israeli show was a massive hit for Keshet last year, and its Brazilian iteration (Superstar) bowed last month to strong ratings despite a technical glitch in the debut episode. It’s Portugal’s turn now, with A Proxima Estrella bowing last night on local broadcaster TVI. The launch won primetime with a 32.7% average share, a 14.1 rating and 3.7M total viewers. More than 1.2M votes were tallied via the Rising Star app that puts the fate of the competing acts in the hands of the audience. The app has now been downloaded in Portugal more than 170,000 times, says Keshet. Performers must reach a threshold of 70% positive votes before a giant screen lifts and they are faced with the judges and studio audience, advancing to the next round. Nine performers went ahead last night (here‘s one covering Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep”). Prior to the official airing, TVI drew an audience of more than 1.5M for its test screening with an average audience share of 31% and a 16 rating.
In this week’s podcast, Deadline International Editor Nancy Tartaglione and host David Bloom do the Cannes can, previewing this week’s announcements in Paris of the lineup for the Cannes Film Festival, including likely entries from usual suspects such as Atom Egoyan and DreamWorks Animation and less likely prospects for slow-to-arrive new projects from Terrence Malick and Paul Thomas Anderson. Nancy and David also wrap up news out of last week’s Mip-TV market in Cannes, led by Keshet’s fast-selling reality formats and two hot programs out of Turkey. They finish up with their weekly peek at news and trends in the international box office, dominated abroad and in the United States by the debut of Rio 2 and the continued strength of fellow sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Meanwhile, Noah continues to sail along with another strong week.
Just days after it was taken out on the global marketplace, the Israeli game show format Boom! has landed a sale in the U.S. Fox has given a series order to the explosive project, developed for the U.S. by Keshet DCP, the joint venture between Keshet International, the global distribution and production arm of Keshet Media Group (Homeland), and DC Media, the parent company of dick clark prods. (Golden Globes)
Global Showbiz Briefs: Netflix Bringing ‘Fargo’ To The Netherlands; BSkyB’s Pick To Air All 88 Episodes Of ‘Farscape’
Netflix Bringing ‘Fargo’ To The Netherlands
Netflix has scored rights to new series Fargo for the Netherlands. The 10-episode limited series is inspired by the Coen brothers’ 1996 feature and will be available exclusively to Netflix members beginning April 16. New episodes will roll out weekly on Netflix Netherlands within 24 hours of the U.S. broadcast on FX. Fargo is produced by MGM Television and FX Productions with MGM handling worldwide distribution. Billy Bob Thornton stars as a rootless, manipulative man who meets and forever changes the life of a small-town insurance salesman (Martin Freeman). Colin Hanks, Allison Tolman, Bob Odenkirk, Oliver Platt, Kate Walsh, Glenn Howerton, Joey King, Peter Breitmayer, Tom Musgrave, Josh Close, Russell Harvard, Adam Goldberg, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele round out the cast.
This is encouraging news for ABC, which committed to Israel’s singing competition Rising Star before the series had finished its original run. The season finale of the interactive talent show Tuesday night drew a 58% audience share, eclipsing its big debut, which averaged a 44.7% share in September. In the closer, the crowd-pleasing Singing Rabbis (watch below their cool “Sound Of Silence” cover from early in the competition) were edged by 20-year-old singer Evyatar Korkus. In its maiden season, Keshet‘s Rising Star averaged a 47.4% share, the second-highest average share for a talent show in Israel behind no-elimination kids show Master Class (48%). Rising Star was #1 in the weekly charts 9 out of 14 weeks it aired, garnering more than 10 million views through the show’s app, which was downloaded by over 1.5 million people in a country with just over 2 million TV homes. Rising Star, one of the hottest formats at MIPCOM in October, has been sold in most major territories while still airing in Israel, including in the U.S. to ABC, which will air its version in summer, and the UK’s ITV.
Deadline’s international editor talks with host David Bloom about The Rocket, the best film to come out of Laos in perhaps ever, and why the Laotian government is banning it; Keshet’s Rising Star continues to rise in the U.S. and U.K.; so-past-rising star Simon Cowell’s newest three-year deal with ITV; what new EU film-support rules may mean for getting more films made there; and a French film debut that may redeem a poor year at the box office for local productions.
Keshet International, the company behind the original Israeli version of Homeland, has put down stakes in the UK. The distribution arm of Keshet Media Group has hired former Sky and La Plante Productions exec Sara Johnson as executive producer and head of co-productions for scripted fare. Former Shed Media exec and Channel 4 drama editor Lee Mason is also boarding as development producer. The success of Homeland (based on Keshet’s Prisoners Of War) has increased the Israeli company’s profile in the past year. Its recent U.S. sales include M.I.C.E., a spy drama based on Keshet’s Gordin Cell that Peter Berg is writing and directing at NBC; Tribe, to be adapted by Greg Malins for ABC and based on comedy Your Family Or Mine; and Mothers Day, a comedy that Julie Rottenberg and Elisa Zuritsky (Sex And The City) are writing for CBS. Keshet’s managing director Alon Shtruzman said of the move into Britain: “In light of the growing success of our formats worldwide, it’s only natural for Keshet to take a bigger position on its own shows. We are now building teams in London and Los Angeles in order to drive our productions in the UK and the U.S., independently or with partners.”
EXCLUSIVE: Top Israeli broadcaster Keshet, on whose format Showtime’s Emmy-winning drama Homeland is based, has added to a strong broadcast selling season with Mother’s Day, a comedy project at CBS based on an Israeli series. Smash co-executive producers Julie Rottenberg and Elisa Zuritsky will write the adaptation. It centers on 40-year-old Ella who, in order to successfully navigate through the demanding life of being a mother of three, a lover, a friend and a career woman, constantly lies her way out of and into situations — little lies, big lies, white and at times not-so-white lies.
The original series, which premiered on Keshet’s Channel 2 in August, was created by Daniela London-Dekel and Dana Eden, written by London-Dekel and produced by Eden’s Eden Prods. (Watch the English-language trailer below.) Rottenberg and Zuritsky executive produce the CBS version with London-Dekel, Eden and Keshet’s CEO Avi Nir and head of programming Ran Telem. Mother’s Day is produced by CBS TV Studios, which has optioned the format rights from Keshet.
Global Showbiz Briefs: BBC Probe, Keshet Sells ‘Fair & Square’, ‘Father’s Day’ Banned, Quickflix Seeks Quick Cash
BBC Inquiry To Ramp Up Next Week
As incoming New York Times Company CEO Mark Thompson is given the going over by staff at the newspaper who have questioned his involvement in the Jimmy Savile scandal, the BBC’s internal inquiry in the contentious cancellation of its Newsnight investigation will start interviewing key players next week. They include the editor of the program, Peter Rippon, who killed a probe into Savile’s impropriety that was set to air in December last year. He reported to Helen Boaden, director of BBC News, and George Entwistle, the new BBC director general who was head of television at the time. Both are expected to face tough questions from Nick Pollard, the former head of Sky News who is in charge of the inquiry. They’ll be joined by the Newsnight journalists who led the investigation into Savile, some of whom blew the whistle on the odd decision-making in a report on BBC current affairs program Panorama last week. Meanwhile, rival broadcaster ITV, which aired a program finally revealing the allegations against Savile at the start of October, is planning further revelations about the late Top Of The Pops host. A second report will be fronted by Mark Williams-Thomas, the former detective who led the original show. It’ll air at the end of November, as the Pollard inquiry is expected to be publishing its findings. – Joe Utichi
In a competitive situation, ABC has landed Tribes, a single-camera comedy from veteran comedy showrunner Greg Malins, Sony Pictures TV and Jamie Tarses’ studio-based Fanfare. Tribes, which has received a script commitment plus penalty, is based on hit Israeli comedy series Your Family Or Mine? from Keshet, the leading Israeli media company whose Prisoners Of War format was adapted into Showtime’s Emmy-winning drama Homeland.
Written by Friends and How I Met Your Mother alum Malins, Tribes centers on Oliver and Kelli who are living proof of the adage “When you marry someone, you don’t just marry them, you marry their whole family.” It is a family comedy with an unusual structure — each episode focuses on a different side of the family: one week featuring the couple dealing with Kelli’s family, the next spent with Oliver’s. Your Family Or Mine?, created by Rubi Duanias, Yaniv Polishuk and produced by Teddy Prods., aired 50 episodes and ranked as the No.1 comedy in Israel. (Watch an English-language trailer below). Malins is executive producing the ABC version with Tarses, Duanias & Polishuk, Keshet’s Avi Nir & Ran Telem and Teddy’s Tamira Yardeni. For WME-repped Malins, the project stems from the overall deal with Sony TV he signed in June.
DNI Makes Deena Edwards SVP Global Branded Solutions
Discovery Networks International has named Deena Edwards SVP of global branded solutions. Edwards is an 18-year Discovery veteran who has worked in everything from sales to marketing and education. In 2010, she was promoted to SVP of integrated content for Discovery Channel and Science Channel. Her new role will see her spearhead the construction of global and regional branded entertainment solutions for advertising clients across original productions, digital media and Discovery Enterprises Intl. She’s based at Discovery HQ in Silver Spring, MD.
NBC has closed a deal for a put pilot commitment to M.I.C.E., a drama from Peter Berg and Sarah Aubrey’s Film 44 based on the Israeli format The Gordin Cell. Berg is set to write and direct the pilot in his first pilot-writing effort since Friday Night Lights. Universal TV, where Film 44 is based, will produce with Israeli company Keshet Media Group, which is behind the original series, along with Israeli satcaster YES, which airs it, and Tedy Prods, which produces it.
The deal comes after a couple of months of negotiations among the parties involved in M.I.C.E., whose title is an acronym for Money, Ideology, Coercion and Ego, used to understand the motives of spies in betraying their countries. Gordin Cell revolves around the Gordin family and centers on Israeli-born Eyal Gordin, a decorated Israeli Air Force officer in a high-security post who loves his country and family. His parents Michael and Diana, Grandmother Nina and elder sister Natalia emigrated from the USSR in 1990. Eyal has no idea that his parents were Russian spies. When Miki and Diana’s former handler appears one day, demanding that they recruit their son into espionage activity (watch the scene below with English subtitles), Eyal faces an impossible dilemma: his cooperation with Russian intelligence determines his family’s fate, while his dedication to Israel’s homeland security tests his family allegiance. His country, or his family… who will he choose to betray? Berg said the original plot “lands itself very easily to an American reinvention” as a drama set in the U.S. “There are still real issues between the U.S. and Russia — they’re spying on us, we’re spying on them.”
Berg will executive produce M.I.C.E. with Aubrey; Avi Nir, CEO of Keshet; Ron Lesham and Amit Cohen, who developed the original series; YES’ Yona Wiesenthal; and Giora Yahalom. “We at Keshet are grateful to have this opportunity, along with Peter and NBC, to tell the M.I.C.E. story to the American audiences,” Nir said.